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Orlando Sentinel

Florida ranks near bottom in getting disease-prevention funds from feds

March 16, 2009

Anika Myers Palm and Robyn Shelton

Florida is one of the worst-ranked states in the nation for getting federal money to spend on disease prevention, according to a new report.

The state came in 47th out of 50, receiving about $13.29 per person last year to spend on disease- and injury-prevention programs. Alaska, by comparison, was ranked first with $52.78 a person. Indiana was last with $12.74 for each resident.

The report — from Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — warns that states need to make the most of federal grants to avoid cutting programs focused on obesity and diabetes prevention, food and water safety, and infectious-disease prevention.

"Public-health programs keep disease rates down, which in turn keeps health-care costs down," said Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health. "It's going to be hard to get the economy healthy again if our workers and our health-care system are both sick."

The entire report is available at healthyamericans.org.

Find out health of long-term care

The 2007-08 annual report from state advocates for nursing-home residents is now available.

Compiled by the Florida Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, the report documents more than 7,700 complaints from residents, families and concerned citizens last year. The East Central Florida division of the program, which serves Brevard, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, carried out 347 long-term facility inspections and 829 complaint investigations.

"The fact that so many seniors in long-term-care facilities are in need of assistance reflects a situation that deserves more attention," said Farrell Groves, chairman of the program's state council. "We can make Florida a better place to live for our frail elders if we create greater awareness of their rights."

The full report is available at ombudsman.myflorida.com.